Information for students with disabilities
We believe that diversity and difference make us stronger. This page is an introduction to the support we can provide, and how you can support yourself and fellow students.
Welcome from the Head of School
- Video: Head of School Welcome to Students with Disabilities
- Professor Richard Andrews, Head of Moray House School of Education and Sport, offers particular welcome to students with disabilities and encourages them to stay in touch with the School and their Personal Tutor about their needs throughout their studies.
We welcome students with disabilities
These are the most common disabilities which students experience at the University of Edinburgh:
- Mental health issues, such as anxiety, panic attacks and depression
- Specific learning differences, such as dyslexia
- Unseen difficulties, such as a health condition
- Visual impairment
- Being an autistic person
- Mobility difficulties
Of all the students at the university, 11% had a disability in 2019/20. This means if you are on a course with 30 students it is likely that 2 or 3 students in the group will have a disability. But on some courses, nobody ever says they have a disability. It is better to be open from the start. It is fine to discuss and ask about disability.
What information is available before you apply?
Our School website provides information on competence standards, time commitment, placement, physical demands and so on, to allow potential applicants with disabilities to make an informed decision about applying. If you wish to apply but are unsure about suitability, the Programme Director should be able to give you further information.
If the application procedure includes an interview, the advance information about selection days should give enough information about the assessment tasks and criteria to allow you to identify whether you will need any adjustments.
We strongly advise applicants to let the School know beforehand. Interviewers will have received guidance on the Disability Equality Duty and will be well informed and supportive of applicants with disabilities. For example, you may ask for a sighted guide to meet you at the entrance, extra time, or to be in a smaller group, or for an electronic notetaker to be booked. Contact the person who sent you the email about the interview. They will confirm the arrangements.
Support for students with Disabilities
What does the Disability and Learning Support Service do?
The Disability and Learning Support Service (DLSS) is an important place to contact before your course starts. If you haven’t contacted them, please do this as soon as you can. The staff at DLSS have broad experience with a very wide range of disabilities.
Contact the Disability and Learning Support Service (DLSS) to make an appointment. Don’t miss the appointment and bring any documents they ask for. If you can’t make an appointment, tell them in advance and they will arrange another one. DLSS will ask you about any access arrangements you need for this meeting. In the meeting remember to discuss everything about your time at university, including online learning and placements.
If you have a condition that you think might affect your ability to study, attend classes or take full part in university life, but are not sure if it would constitute a disability, you should get in touch with the Disability and Learning Support Service and talk to a member of staff. They will be able to advise you and arrange an assessment if that is required. If a condition is formally identified, staff will prepare a Schedule of Adjustment (SoA).
You will see a Disability Advisor before your programme starts. They will tell you more about Disabled Students Allowance (DSA), which home students may be eligible for. You will need to show evidence of disability before receiving DSA. The university funds other support if you are ineligible for DSA.
They will also draw up a Schedule of Adjustments (SoA) which is sent to our School.
The SoA sets out all the steps the School must take to ensure you can overcome any barriers due to your disability. For example, extra time for exams, using accessible pdfs, or provision of support staff. Read your schedule carefully and discuss it with your Personal Tutor. The School will keep this information confidential, but they tell people who need to know such as course organisers.
Reasonable adjustments can be made to support your learning across your studies including lectures, seminars, workshops, placements, field trips, assessments, vivas or if you are auditing courses.
Support in Moray House School of Education and Sport
Personal Tutor (PT)/Student Adviser (SA): If you have any issue or concern which is affecting your studies, the PT or SA is the first person you should contact. You will meet them near the beginning of your studies.
Disability Contact: If you want to discuss any issues about the arrangements for your support as a student with a disability, please contact the School's Disability contact, Rachel O'Neill.
Named contact: The Disability and Learning Support Service (DLSS) may ask you if you would like a named contact in the School. This person is usually different from your Personal tutor. They keep in touch with you and DLSS regularly.
Student Experience and Support Office: Responsible for liaising with your Course Organisers and PT about your Schedule of Adjustments.
Co-ordinator of Adjustments: Responsible for ensuring that staff in the School know how to implement your Schedule of Adjustments.
Course Organiser and Programme Secretary: Know about your Schedule of Adjustments and will liaise with support services. Find their details on your Learn site.
Hear from students with disabilities in our School
Miriam began a postgraduate taught programme at Moray House School of Education and Sport not knowing that she had a disability. During her studies, she was referred to the Disability and Learning Support Service for an appointment to see if she needed extra support. When she understood that she had dyslexia, she was able to access practical support in the form of software from the university, and also felt that she wasn't "as hard on herself".
[We discussed how] when I was in secondary school when we had to read aloud in class I would come out in a sweat. I would make an excuse to go to the toilet or I would count down the lines. If I was number five so I'm going to read the fifth page, and I would jump ahead and scan that page.
I had the imposter syndrome, or the intruder syndrome. I've always had that, and kind of can't quite believe I've got through the system as far as I have. I’m expecting somebody to tap me on the shoulder and say this has all been a terrible mistake and you shouldn't be here .
They gave me software to read articles out loud. So I would continue to read, but it was just hearing it. That seemed to mean I could retain the information if I could hear it, rather than relying on my own processing skills to read that information and the comprehension, I suppose, it just helped.
After I found out about my dyslexia I think I wasn't as hard on myself, and I think it was actually, that realization I've done quite well, considering the difficulties that I've had. You know I'm passing this and it's OK, I know it's not because I'm stupid.
How can you get involved in the School Community?
School Events: All members of our community are able to access our events. Please contact the organisers for any School event giving details of the access arrangements you need with one week’s notice.
Become a Representative: If you are interested in improving experiences for you and other students with disabilities, please consider being a Course Rep, or join the Inclusion and Disability Subgroup as a Student Rep.